Aston Villa boss Remi Garde: Christmas not a party time for us
Remi Garde has warned his Aston Villa players about letting their hair down at Christmas as they struggle at the bottom of the Premier League.
Villa go to Southampton on Saturday seven points adrift from the safety of 17th in the table with Jack Grealish still in exile from the first team after he was pictured partying following last month's 4-0 defeat at Everton.
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Garde would not confirm whether Villa will have a Christmas party but insisted whatever his players do during the festive period they must behave.
He said: "You think I should be worried? I can't imagine when you have opportunity to play in the Premier League, in a big club, big games, that you could be disturbed by this time of parties. Even if it is Christmas.
"You can have Christmas with family and be prepared to play this game. If you speak to every European player they would like to play Boxing Day, this time to play is fantastic. You have to know this is our job, you do it in a way that you are prepared to be 100 per cent focused. Of course, it is a party time but not for us. That is it."
When asked whether Villa were having a party Garde said it was a "private issue."
Grealish will not feature at St Mary's but Garde hinted the 20-year-old could be back with the first team on Monday.
When asked if the youngster would return to the first-team fold on Monday, Garde said: "It could be."
The Frenchman added: "The way Jack is playing is more important for me. Now we have to look at the performance of each player and in the forthcoming weeks -- I am more focused on that than what he did."